Featured Interview With Jotham Austin. II
Tell us a little about yourself. Where were you raised? Where do you live now?
I am a multi-genre author and I live in Chicagoland with my wife, two sons and a giant cat named Ivan. I was born and raised in Philadelphia, PA, but I’ve lived in a number of places across America—Erie, PA, Tempe, AZ, Boulder/Denver, CO, Chicago, IL and I currently live in Munster, IN.
I have my PhD in Botany, and can be found in the laboratory taking electron micrographs of cells at The University of Chicago. When I’m not in the lab or writing, I split my remaining free time (who needs to sleep) between gardening, woodworking, and home-brewing.
At what age did you realize your fascination with books? When did you start writing?
I have always been fascinated with writing, but I was a senior in high school when I took a creative writing class as an elective. It was this class when I realized I enjoyed writing and started to consider it as a career.
I started college at Penn State- Behrend as a triple major: Biology, Chemistry, and English—this lasted for 2.5 years, around the time I got a grant to do independent research. I ended up getting a minor in Chemistry and was off to a PhD program in botany (I was about 20 credits away from my English degree and 4 credits from Chemistry. Could have stayed another year in Erie, PA, but graduate school and the nice southwest weather was calling my name)
While in graduate school at Arizona State University, I started to write and perform poetry with a musician. After finishing graduate school, I stopped writing for about 8 years as I focused on my science career and started my family. It wasn’t until about 11 years ago when I tore my Achilles Tendon that I started to write again—finishing my first novel in about six months—but it was several years later, and the third complete novel I wrote, Will You Still Love Me If I Become Someone Else? That was finally picked up and released by RhetAskew Publishing.
Who are your favorite authors to read? What is your favorite genre to read. Who Inspires you in your writings?
I write mostly Sci-Fi, Psychological thrillers, and Romance, but I read in a lot of different genres so I have many favorites. A short list: James Tate, Joyce Carol Oates, Seanan McGuire (Mira Grant), Roberto Bolano, Octavia Butler, T, Kingfisher, Justin A Reynolds, Nora Roberts, Lisa Jewell, Margaret Atwood, Jeff Vandermeer, John Scalzi, Adrian Tchaikovsky, Issac Asimov—I think this gives a taste of my eclectic reading and probably all of these authors have inspired my writing in some way.
I also read The Stand by a Stephen King once a year—that book is a master class in writing fiction!
Tell us a little about your latest book?
‘Will You Still Love Me If I Become Someone Else?’ Explores the relationship between people as they grow and experience life’s trials and tribulations. The book also explores the idea of how much do you really know the people in our lives—even those closest to us? What secrets or desires are they repressing?
I took these basic ideas and questions and pushed it to the extreme by added a jumble of 110 other people’s memories into Brian’s head and asking the reader to ride along as he tries to sort out who he really is and will his fiancée, Brenda, love Brian was after discovering who he was and who he is becoming—Some Memories are Best Forgotten—
The book is a twisty story—Brian has a lot of stuff to sort out, and I like to keep the reader guessing to the end. The book took me about 1.5 years to write and another year of edits and revisions before I got an offer of publication from RhetAskew Publishing.
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